Detroit Tigers’ offense still sleepy despite return home; Athletics shut ’em out, 2-0

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers returned to Comerica Park for the beginning of an eight-game homestand, desperate for an offensive spark and a win to snap their miserable losing streak.

Neither happened Monday.

The Tigers tallied four hits and lost, 2-0, to the Oakland Athletics in the first of five games, extending the losing streak to six games in front of 12,674 fans. Detroit owns the worst record in the American League, at 8-20 overall, dropping 13 of its past 15 games.

Detroit has been held scoreless for 24 straight innings.

Meanwhile, the Athletics snapped a nine-game losing skid.

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Athletics right-hander Paul Blackburn tossed 6⅔ scoreless innings. The 28-year-old has turned around his career this season, with a 1.74 ERA, three walks and 26 strikeouts over 31 innings in six starts.

A two-out single from Jonathan Schoop chased Blackburn from his start in the seventh. Right-hander reliever Zach Jackson induced a groundout from Jeimer Candelario on his second pitch.

Jackson and righty Dany Jimenez pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, without allowing a hit. Oakland scored its pair of runs off Tigers right-hander Michael Pineda in the third and fourth frames, including a solo home run from Tony Kemp.

[ Why Tigers demoted outfielder Akil Baddoo to Triple-A Toledo ]

Offense still dormant

The Tigers posted four hits, zero walks and eight  strikeouts, finishing 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Schoop, Javier Báez, Austin Meadows and Tucker Barnhart each recorded one hit.

After his ninth-inning strikeout, Baez and Hinch were both ejected by home plate ump ire Nick Mahrley for arguing balls and strikes.

Meadows and Barnhart came the closest to scoring, both advancing to second base before the Tigers stranded them.

Barnhart singled and moved up on Derek Hill’s bunt, which resulted in the second out. Robbie Grossman was called out on strikes to end the third inning. Meadows, after missing the past three games, ripped a two-out double to right field in the fourth.

Schoop, though, lined out to third baseman Kevin Smith.

The ball had a 105.3 mph exit velocity.

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Another solid start on mound

Pineda nearly completed seven innings, but manager A.J. Hinch stopped him short following a two-out single from Luis Barrera.

Hinch turned to left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin, who struck out Kemp — a left-handed hitter — to complete the seventh. Pineda allowed two runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 6⅔ innings.

He tossed 63 of 94 pitches for strikes.

The two runs Pineda surrendered were scored in the third and fourth frames.

In the third, Kemp hit a solo home run off Pineda’s 0-1 changeup with one out, which ended up being enough to win the game. To begin the fourth, Sean Murphy doubled to left field. He scored on a one-out single from Chad Pinder, who smacked a 1-2 slider from Pineda.

For his 94 pitches, Pineda used 53 four-seam fastballs, 34 sliders and seven changeups. He recorded 10 swings and misses, racking up six with his slider. His 18 called strikes came from 12 fastballs and six sliders.

Righty reliever Rony Garcia, recalled from Triple-A Toledo before Monday’s game, pitched the eighth and ninth innings.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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